On Christmas Eve, 2021, the Paramount Center for the Arts turns 100 years old! A passionate team of community members is planning a year-long celebration, beginning in January 2021, to mark this great event and we need your assistance!
As part of the celebration, the Stearns History Museum is partnering with the Paramount Center for the Arts and will be accepting items, artifacts and memorabilia that tell the history of the Paramount Theatre over the years. The items can be given as a long-term loan or for permanent deposit in the Museum collections. These items will be used to tell the story of the Paramount from its beginnings through the twentieth century.
Items of interest might include anything from family photographs at a special show, playbills, scripts, home movies, ticket stubs, costumes and clothing worn during performances, autographed photos of artists, and more. Your donations will help us weave the story of the Paramount together through images and objects in displays at the Paramount and Stearns History Museum throughout 2021 and 2022.
We are also collecting your best Paramount stories. You might choose to write a story for publication or perhaps answer a series of questions for an interview. Your stories will become a part of the Paramount collection.
Do you have an item or story that you think you might want to share?
Please contact the Stearns History Museum to discuss your possible donation.
Museum staff including Steve Penick, Archivist, and Eric Cheever, Curator, will reply to your inquiry.
Please note: we are not able to accept chairs from the original theater.
On Christmas Eve, 1921, citizens of Central Minnesota paid fifty cents to attend the grand opening of “St. Cloud’s Largest and Finest Playhouse,” the Sherman Theatre. The event, featured D.W. Griffith’s silent film Way Down East accompanied by a live orchestra, and marked the beginning of generations of entertainment at the theatre including Vaudeville acts, operas, concerts, Broadway road shows, animal acts, wrestling matches, speeches, political rallies, plays, musicals and movies.
Although it was not the first theatre of its kind in St. Cloud, it was said to be the grandest, with seating for 1,700, a decorative lobby and foyer, a majestic theatre organ, and a stage to accommodate large sets and up to thirty dancers. Entertainers and celebrities enjoyed the Sherman’s private dressing rooms, state-of-the-art “air conditioning system,” and its proximity to St. Cloud’s finest hotel, the Breen. Also built in 1921, the Breen Hotel served as the perfect companion for this lush new theatre with its 180 mahogany-finished rooms, two dining rooms, and elevators that brought guests up to a rooftop garden which, at the time, was the highest point in the city.
Today, these landmark buildings stand as symbols of St. Cloud’s lively, bustling downtown in the “Roaring Twenties.” The Sherman Theatre (originally named after well-known Minneapolis motion picture executive Harry A. Sherman) was renamed the Paramount in 1930 when the theatre underwent its first renovation, adding sound equipment to accommodate the new “talkies” and featuring a new marquee. In 1997, the upper floors of the Breen Hotel, now known as the Germain Towers, were converted to housing units for elderly residents.
We have 100 years of arts, culture and entertainment to celebrate! Memories of the Paramount’s early years… memories of when the building deteriorated and we almost lost the Theatre to decay and disrepair… memories of the dedicated citizens, community leaders and city officials who worked together to save it and bring it back. The Paramount now stands proudly as the true “Center for the Arts” for everyone in Central Minnesota! The Paramount is OUR Theatre.
Please help us tell the story and preserve it for generations to come!